Weekend reads

  1. In the Indian Express, Christophe Jaffrelot and Vihang Jumle explain how US President Donald Trump’s handling of Iran has affected India’s relationship with the Islamic country. Following US economic sanctions, India stopped importing oil from Iran in May. 
  2. Bonded labour was abolished in India decades ago, but the inhuman practice of modern slavery continues to flourish in some parts of the country. The Times of India published a disturbing picture of an elderly bonded labourer falling at the feet of officials in Tamil Nadu. The man and 40 others were rescued but they were still feeling unsafe, The Indian Express reported.
  3. Last week, Al Qaeda chief Ayman Al-Zawahiri released a video image in which he slammed both Indians and Pakistanis and wanted all militants in Kashmir to unite. Saikat Datta writes in Asia Times thatthe message reflects the deep frustration of the terrorist organisation that has not been able to gain a footprint in Jammu and Kashmir. 
  4.   If authoritarian populism is rooted in economics, then the appropriate remedy is a populism of another kind – one which targets economic injustice and inclusion, but remains pluralist in its politics. If the authoritarianism is rooted in culture and values, however, there are fewer options, argues Dani Rodrik in Mint. 
  5.   The Tamil Nadu government’s quick-fixes to overcome the water crisis in Chennai are only worsening the city’s plight. But these quick fixes would be justified if government agencies start engaging with citizens that are insisting on a better land use and water use policies, writes Nityanand Jayaraman in The Wire. 
  6. Why did Coca Cola’s product New Coke failed in the 1980s? With the infamous can making its presence in the popular Netflix series Stranger Things, Tim Murphy in Mother Jones writes on why the product faced a consumer backlash. 
  7. For the first time, Wimbledon will pay men and women equal prize money this year. But does this mean the Tennis Grandslam tournament has achieved equality? Ben Rothenberg in Longreads says this may not be so. 
  8. In this Baffler piece, Niela Orr explains how Hollywood horror movies for decades have humiliated Black women and represented them in a degrading manner. 
  9. The government announced in the budget its decision to raise a part of its gross borrowing in foreign markets. Is this a good move? Subir Roy in BusinessLine explains.   
  10. One British man spent his adult life devoted to his favorite star Britney Spears. His personal collection tells us a lot about fandom—and about the life cycles of music ephemera.